Food is the fuel for life!
Is the food you eat good enough to Pay Your Body Back™ for all you ask it to do?
Your body needs protein, water, carbohydrates, and fat to function correctly. It uses what it needs for power and stores the rest as fat for later use.
The trick is figuring out what to feed your body to fuel it well and not leave too much behind.
Understanding the difference between Grow Foods, Treats, and Trash makes healthy choices simple.
Grow Foods, a term coined by Registered Dietitian Jill Fleming, are items that look much like they did when they left the farm. The more refined and processed something is, the farther from a “grow food” it becomes. Raw vegetables and fruits are great examples of “grow foods,” as are whole grains and lean meats. These foods fuel your body; allowing children to grow and adults to thrive.
Treats are items which may taste good, but aren’t going to help you grow or thrive. It is okay to have a cookie or some ice cream, but it should be a treat — something special and extra outside what you give your body to grow and thrive. Treats are not limited to sweets. For example, salty and fried items such as chips have no nutritional value, yet can be quite tasty. Soda, even diet soda, is a treat.
Trash are items which contain things your body doesn’t need, can’t use and may be damaging. Avoid items with trans-fat, artificial sweeteners, colors, and flavors.
By choosing to fuel your body with Grow Foods at meals and snacks, and avoiding the Trash you can afford to give yourself a Treat.
Finding Grow Foods:
- Read the label. If there are ingredients with more than three syllables — it isn’t a grow food.
- Avoid canned vegetables and fruit containing added salt and sugar.
- Keep an eye out for high fructose corn syrup – this is another name for sugar.
- Partially hydrogenated oils are trans-fat should be avoided.
- Avoid “quick cooking” packaged foods such as instant rice and oatmeal. These grains are broken down to cook faster and contain much less beneficial fiber.
A salad and a smoothie each day will pack in the fresh fruits and veggies. Try adding a chopped up carrot to your smoothie in the morning!
Keeping Treats in Perspective:
- Limit treats to once a day or a few times per week.
- Pay attention to the portion size. Split the giant cookie with a friend or save half for tomorrow.
- Don’t replace meals with treats. A doughnut isn’t breakfast — it’s a treat.
- Beware of sneaky treats. Some things look like grow foods but are really treats in disguise. Yogurt with high fructose corn syrup is more like pudding than a grow food.
- Limit soda (and diet soda) to treat times. Don’t drink soda as your beverage with a meal. Give your body healthy beverages such as water, skim milk and herbal tea.
Getting Grow Foods at work:
Grab and Go: Bring healthy food with you. For example:
- Bag of mini carrots, tub of hummus
- Whole grain rice cakes or crackers with low fat cheese, turkey, chicken, beef or cottage cheese
- Nuts and dried or fresh fruit.
- Tuna packed in a pouch with pita bread or crackers
Crunch at Lunch: Order a salad or a stir-fry for lunch instead of that burger. Get lots of color on your plate (soup can work well too) and avoid high-fat and high-salt dressings and sauces.
Take a Detour: If you know the break room or vending machines are just too tempting, stay away. Distract yourself with a walk outside and a healthy snack from home.
Pay Your Body Back™ with enough grow foods every day and it will pay you back with good health!
Eliz Greene works busy people to improve heart health, so they can work well, feel better, and stress less.
She is a heart attack survivor and the author of the Busy Woman’s Guide to a Healthy Heart as well as 3 other books on wellness. She writes one of the top 50 health and wellness blogs and is a sought-after wellness & stress management speaker.
If you are planning a women’s wellness program, workplace wellness program or programs for healthcare professionals check out EmbraceYourHeart.com to see if Eliz would be a good fit with your organization.